Sunday, October 23, 2011

Genesius' 'The Little Dog Laughed' offers food for thought as well as lots of laughs

Daphnee McMaster, Michael Contreras, Brandon Kegerize and Tricia Corcoran
By Cheryl Thornburg

  If you are offended by homosexuality, coarse language and male nudity, then Genesius Theatre's current production "The Little Dog Laughed" is not for you. BUT, if witty dialogue, complex and conflicted characters and thought-provoking theater are your idea of a great evening out, then plan to see this Tony-nominated play by Genesius alumnus Douglas Carter Beane.
  The story focuses on Mitchell Green, a movie star who has, as his agent describes, "a slight recurring case of homosexuality" that could be detrimental to his career. His life becomes more complicated when he meets Alex, a young man, a "rent boy," with whom he'd like to have more than a one-night stand.
  Michael Contreras plays Mitchell with a sensitivity that brings out the insecurities of this outwardly egocentric actor. Matching him in the sensitivity department is Brandon Kegerize as Alex, who surprises himself by developing feelings for Mitch -- after all he's not really gay, he has a girlfriend. He just does this for the  money.
  These two are very believable as they dance around the awkward situations as they get to know each other. They bring a depth to their respective characters as they explore what they want in life, and what they will do to get it.
  "The Little Dog Laughed" is basically a love story with lots of twists.
  What takes this play to another level are the two female characters, Diane, Mitchell's agent, and Ellen, Alex's girlfriend.
  Tricia Corcoran is brilliant as Diane, the fast-talking, manipulative agent who sees Mitch as her ticket to the "A" List in Hollywood. Corcoran delivers Beane's staccato, tongue-twisting dialogue with a glib poise that belies the difficulty of this role. She is really the ringmaster, who tries to keep Mitchell's proclivities under wraps for all their sakes.
  Equally talented is Genesius newcomer Daphnee McMaster as Ellen, Alex's bubbly, outgoing and very attractive girlfriend. McMaster has a magnetic stage presence and great comedic timing that could take her far in the theater world.
  Director Kirk Lawrence has taken a risk with this play, which is not for all audiences, but for those of us who appreciate thought-provoking theater that makes you explore the characters' motivations, as well as your own, his risk is our gain.
  This is a well-paced, well-acted production that is well worth the trip to downtown Reading.
  “The Little Dog Laughed” runs through Oct. 30 at Genesis Theatre, located at 10th and Walnut streets in Reading. Remaining performances are Oct. 28, and 29 at 8 p.m., Oct. 30 at 3 p.m., and Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.Tickets are $15 for all seats at all performances.
  The production is rated R and includes adult situations and male nudity.
  For tickets and more information visit the Genesius Website at or call the Genesius Reservation Hot-Line at 610-373-9500.
  Genesius has free parking next to the theater, just off 10th Street and is handicap accessible.

For a sneak peek, go to

For up-to-date  area theater information, follow me on Twitter @MercArtsCheryl


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